How to use call center statistics for making the right management decisions?

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We always mention that all vital decisions you make regarding call center management, call center operations optimization, workforce management, or scaling up strategy development have to be based on precise statistical data. What do we mean by it?

First of all, you have to understand that all modern call center software provides you with all needed statistical and reporting tools to help you understand the effectiveness of business operations, progress in the achievement of business goals, staff performance, customer satisfaction, and overall customer experience, and finally, main imperfections and mistakes that harm the quality of your customer service. There is a key reason why these tools are so widely spread - they help you in the decision-making process and also they ease the process of analyzing call center operations because if you do it manually it will take too much time and effort.

Why do we write it if it is quite obvious? First of all, we already have enough guides about call center metrics and call center KPIs you can read. Thus, this guide is not about call center metrics formulas, definitions, the field of use, and other theoretical aspects - it is about what you have to do to use your call center statistics effectively and with the highest possible impact for your contact center.

Interesting? Then let’s begin the story.

What are call center statistics?

Call center statistics are often considered a synonymous term to call center metrics and call center KPIs. As you already know, call center metrics and call center KPIs are different indicators of call center performance, even though most people think they are similar. Call center statistics is a wider term that includes both call center metrics and call center KPIs, and in most cases, this definition is used concerning insights you get in your cloud contact center software real-time dashboards, and call center reports.

Why are there so many definitions for things that look quite similar? First of all, call center performance management is a multifaceted and complex process, so using a “one size fits all” approach may cause misunderstandings and harm the effectiveness of this process. Secondly, there is a huge dissimilarity between metrics and KPIs - if you use them right, then KPI is your business objective - for instance, you need to boost agent occupancy by 15% per month, and the call center metric is Agent Occupancy rate, the exact measurable quantity you can calculate using a specific formula. For other vital factors of customer service, such as “number of agents online” there is no call center metric, as well as it is not a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) - it is just another measurable quantity you need to track, so it is included in call center statistics.

Thus, after this short lyrical digression, let us move back to today's topic. So, call center statistics are all call center metrics and KPIs, as well as other call center operations and processes you can measure and track in real-time mode to improve the quality of customer service, call center agents' performance, and customer experience (or any other aspects of customer service, such as customer retention or customer loyalty that can’t be measured by your software tool automatically).

What are the benefits of using call center statistics?

Better agent performance

The first thing you have to pay attention to is agent performance. If we talk about focusing on the improvement of customer service quality and customer satisfaction, then the only way to reach these business objectives is to proactively track and control your agent performance. Agent performance highly depends on such factors as agent satisfaction, agent motivation, agent engagement, and agent training. Here are a few examples of why these factors matter.

First of all, agents who aren’t satisfied with their work will never do their best to delight customers. They will not be able to provide empathetic customer service, focus on finding out the root causes of customer problems, and this is why it will harm your business much more than you can expect - over 50% of your customers will just abandon your company if they experience poor customer service one time, and over 80% of them will do it when experiencing bad customer service twice. Agent motivation, especially when we are talking about exceeding customer expectations, plays the main role - agents who don’t see career opportunities and the ability to grow professionally will never bend over backwards to do more than they have been doing before. Agent engagement is the most influential factor on such vital call center metrics as First Call Resolution and Average Resolution Time - non-engaged agents can’t understand the root cause of customer problems and, accordingly, can’t solve them.

Positive customer experience

The positive customer experience provided during all customer interactions is the main dream of every call center manager - we all know that excellent customer experience influences customer retention and customer loyalty much more than just the good quality of your goods.

Without using call center statistics and call center reporting, you can’t understand whether there are issues with the customer service experiences you provide or not - until angry customers will call you and tell you everything they think about you and your service. Even small indicators may show that there are imperfections in your customer service - such things as call center statistics and call center industry statistics standards may help you to find out when you have to act proactively, before causing big problems and making your customers angry.

You also know that customer experience is a multi-component metric - it can’t be measured by using one “customer experience metric”. It consists of four main elements - customer satisfaction (CSAT), customer effort (CES), net promoter score (NPS), and first contact resolution (FCR). All these metrics have to be tracked and improved if you want to provide a seamless customer experience - but to be honest, great customer experience depends on much more factors than these four alone.

Lower operational costs

Measuring call center statistics and keeping an eagle eye on call center reporting helps you understand how to optimize processes, and we all know that optimizing processes means optimizing costs. For instance, you can understand what are your peak hours with the highest call volumes and change agent scheduling to save on labor costs and improve customer service efficiency and speed at the same time. Furthermore, you can find out what agents are doing worse than others and optimize your training efforts to save on useless training sessions, and focus on those imperfections that have to be resolved as soon as possible. Also, measuring the types of customer interactions can help you increase the role of your self-service channels which are lower-cost channels than traditional call center agent support. Elementary customer inquiries can be easily handled by the chatbots or IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system, while more complicated issues will be processed by agents. Anyhow, getting the entire picture of your call center operations gives you a competitive advantage.

Much easier to reach business goals

When you set a new call center objective for your call center teams, it is vital to see all aspects and details of its implementation and progress. For example, you set a goal to improve the First Call Resolution rate from 65% to 80% in 2 months. Is this goal achievable? Absolutely, but only if you see the whole picture of staff actions on the way to this objective. First of all, you have to gather data about call volumes, main types of customer issues, preferred channels of your target audiences, Average Waiting Time, Average Resolution Time, and configurations of your call routing, and analyze these tons of information to understand what should you change in your strategy to reach the goal in the pre-set time frame. Is this possible without using call center statistics and call center analytics? No way. You can’t gather this data manually, and even if you had gathered this data, it would have taken too much time and effort.

How to use call center statistics to improve your call center management and reach business goals faster?

Set your main business goals first

Call center statistics are worth nothing if you don’t have business goals to reach. No matter what are your business goals focused on - handling inbound calls or outbound calls, providing better customer experience and excellent customer service, improving customer service agents' performance or something else, you have to define a few main things: time frames, measurable contact center performance indicators to track progress, strategy with precise steps to reach your goals, and potential risks. As we are talking about call center statistics, for each business goal you will have key metrics to track - for improving customer service it may be Average Handle Time (some call it Average Handling Time), Average Wait Time, and so on, while for contact center agent performance improvement it may be Average Speed of Answer, Average Abandonment Rate, and Average Hold Time.

Customize your call center reporting

Modern contact center solutions offer features to customize your call center reporting and call center analytics to include call center statistics you want to track. These call center statistics are absolutely different for incoming calls and for outbound calls, so you have to design two different strategies for designing your call center reports and dashboards. For inbound calls, which are the fundamental element of your customer service contact center performance, you have to include the following vital contact center metrics:

Average Hold Time - average duration of time when customers are put on hold;

Average Handling Rate - Average Handling Rate is synonymous with Average Resolution Time, which means the average time spent on resolving customer issues;

Average Wait Time - how much time customers wait to reach out to the customer service team;

FCR rate (First Call Resolution) - the percentage of customer demands resolved during first contact;

Conversion Rate - is mostly used for inbound calls concerning sales;

Abandon Rate (Call Abandonment Rate) - a percentage of calls being abandoned by clients due to long waiting times;

Call Volumes - number of inbound calls per hour;

Agent Statuses - call center managers have to see how many agents are online, who are idling, and who is offline;

Average Call Duration - vital for understanding the needed number of agents to deal with call volumes;

Average Response Times - time agents spend answering the inbound calls, a vital indicator of contact center performance and individual agents' performance.

Pay more attention to details

Some metrics you use for measuring your contact center performance may point to negative tendencies which you could never expect. For instance, the Average Duration of a Call that starts to decrease may point not to improved agent performance, but to poor customer experience provided during these calls - some agents think that speed is the first priority, while decreasing Average Call Duration in the call center industry almost always points to agent unwillingness to delve deeper into the customer query. Another great example is a too-long post-call operation - such a type of contact center operation is completed by all call center employees to fill clients’ info into the CRM system and so on. Too long post-call work duration may point to call avoidance - a big problem for inbound call centers when workers try to avoid customer calls.

The same thing works with all call center statistics you use - no matter what KPIs are we talking about. If you see that Average Wait Time is growing, you should think of a few things: Is there a change in call volumes? Are there enough agents online? What is Average Call Duration compared to previous days? Thus, you can make three different conclusions: either there is a great increase in the inbound call volume and you need more agents to deal with it, or there is a problem with agent absenteeism, or agents need additional training and motivation as the average speed of customer service has reduced.

Use the data you receive for training

Each call center report is the source of information about areas of improvement of your agents, contact center leaders, and managers’ skills. You have to use call center industry statistics standards of contact center productivity, collect customer feedback, and analyze this data to help your agents and supervisors match customer expectations. For such purposes, you also have to implement precise service levels to use them for further evaluation of agent work - whether it is good or not. All valuable insights you get from your call center reports are also indicators of imperfections in agent qualifications, so you have to develop your customer service strategies and training plans accordingly to these imperfections.

For instance, you may see a high call escalation rate, and this is a direct sign that your agents are unable to resolve difficult situations and resolve conflicts. Another example is the high call transfer rate - this means that agents don’t have enough hard skills, and this is especially about new hires.

Your goal is to teach your agents only those things that they don’t yet know or know worse than they have to. This relates to both soft skills and hard skills, especially when we are talking about such things, as empathetic customer service, active listening, adaptability, strong communication skills, stress resistance, and so on.

How can technologies help you to benefit from call center statistics?

Call center reporting, including call center analytics and call center service measurement, is only one benefit that modern contact center solutions offer to you. It offers you numerous features to provide a perfect customer experience at every stage of the customer journey. Such features include:

  • Automatic Call Distributors (ACD) - a tool to manage your inbound calls and route them to agents accordingly to pre-set call routing rules
  • IVR system - a powerful self-service and call queue management tool
  • Call center reports - real-time customizable call center reports with detailed call center analytics
  • Call monitoring - a tool to track live customer calls
  • Call recording - a recording tool for training and quality assurance purposes
  • Call scripting - provide agents with dynamic call scripts for a seamless customer experience
  • Outbound dialers - get three times more out of your cold-calling campaigns
  • Workforce management tools - track agent scheduling and adherence
  • Intelligent call routing - a powerful tool that routes call to the most appropriate agents
  • Multichannel digital channels communication - include digital channels to your contact center, such as web chats, emails, messengers, social media, and so on.
Interested in ultimate call center software?

Contact us to discuss your needs and see Voiptime Contact Center in action!

Eugene Siuch

Content Manager and Copywriter

Focused on customer service measurement and improvement, SaaS marketing and industry insights, and researching different methods of staff motivation and performance management in the field of customer service providing.

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